Every year my church held a camping retreat, which took place over the course of a few days, usually near the middle of summer. As a kid, this was always one of my favorite times of the year. I remember the feeling of freedom I would have when we’d arrive and how it felt like I could do or be anything I wanted. My friends and I would stay up as late as we possibly could, usually until two or three in the morning. God was there, too. He was everywhere from the forest, to the river, to the campsites where the adults gathered for Bible studies.
One year in particular stands out because it wasn’t just any year. It was the year I got to drive up to camp a day early, a whole day, with my best friend, Natalie, and her family. On top of that—I had a loose tooth. To think, I could lose my tooth at the campout and finally prove once and for all the tooth fairy isn’t real.
I wasn’t a very easily convinced child.
I didn’t even believe in Santa Claus (but that’s an entirely different story). I figured that if I lost my tooth, this would be the true test. Would the tooth fairy still come, even if my parents weren’t there?
I did lose my tooth. And boy were Natalie and I excited. So excited that we decided we needed to show everybody at the campground my tooth. As if, you know, they’d never seen a tooth before.
And so, brilliant as we were, we set my single tooth in the basket on the front of my bicycle. We set my tiny tooth in a small wicker basket that had a million gaping holes at the bottom, and rode crazily on the gravel road to all of the campsites, ready to show the world my miraculous tooth.
I’m sure you can guess what happened.
We lost my tooth somewhere in the gravel. It was a little sad, yes, but I wasn’t too heartbroken about it. I mean, I hadn’t expected the tooth fairy to come in the first place, and figured that money would still show up under my pillow, with or without my tooth. But Natalie, who still wholeheartedly believed in the tooth fairy, felt terrible.
The day went on and we soon got over the loss as we played with our friends and explored the trails near the campground. As night settled in, we set up our sleeping bags in our tent and then made one last walk around. Natalie carried a lantern to light our path.
Then suddenly she stopped, bending over to pick something up off the ground.
“I found it!” She yelled, loud enough to wake the entire camp. Sure enough, there was my tiny white tooth, glowing in the fluorescent light of the lantern. It was a miracle, really, although for some reason at the time, I wasn’t that impressed. Just surprised that we actually found it.
We ran back to our campsite and told her parents, who smiled and nodded politely. Natalie was convinced the tooth fairy would be visiting us tonight.
I secretly settled to debunk the tooth fairy myth once and for all.
Morning came and still nothing was under my pillow. I knew what that meant. When my parents arrived I’d be telling them that I knew the truth and they couldn’t convince me otherwise. I’d also ask them for a quarter.
All of a sudden I heard the sound of crunching gravel followed by voices drawing closer to the tent. I held my breath, recognizing the voices.
I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep as the footsteps stopped at our tent. The sound of the zipper opening reached my ears and I tried not to laugh as they had a full on conversation, not even bothering to whisper, assuming that neither of us would wake up.
I’m not so easily deceived.
I felt my pillow move slightly and then they left, chatting away as if nothing had happened.
As if nothing had changed.
HA! I laughed to myself, as Natalie began to stir, having missed out on the whole event.
I told her what happened, but I don’t think she believed me. She still wanted to believe so what I said didn’t make a difference. I figured I’d let her believe. Who was I to rob her of belief?
Later her mom asked me if the tooth fairy left me anything. I smiled and told her yes, and then added “Thank you.”
When my parents arrived I told them what happened. They thought it was pretty funny too, but still didn’t let go that the tooth fairy is real. Actually, my mom still tries to convince me to this day that the tooth fairy is real. Still wanting me to hold on to this idea of miracles.
Of course I don’t believe her about the tooth fairy, but I do believe in miracles.
Looking back on that day, we shouldn’t have found my tooth after we lost it in the gravel. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack. One small tooth in the midst of a million tiny rocks. But we did find it. And because we found it, I got free money, and bought ice cream, and what more could a little kid really ask for? Even though I didn’t believe in the tooth fairy, there was still a miraculous joy in losing my tooth. The idea that in losing a tooth, I would receive something better in return.
In a way, this relates to faith. We may not be able to see God, but we see him in every day miracles. Such as finding lost things, or the blessing of money to pay bills, or the simple love of community and the value of fellowship. It is in these little miracles that faith is found. The faith that God is everywhere and will continue to be. Even though we can’t see him, we believe in his promises. Like placing a tooth under a pillow, we place our lives in His hands, and have faith that he will be there in the morning.
Hi! My name is Rachel. I love to write. Write about life, love, and reflect on how the past builds the future. Mostly, I love to tell stories because I believe there is something about stories that brings the world closer together. You can check out some of my writing reflections here at Rachel Writes.